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Top 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 1

December 10, 2015

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Now that I’ve completed my Top 50 Songs of 2015 list, it’s time to rundown my Top 25 Albums of the year.  Entries 15-11 are just down below.  Jump back tomorrow for the final 10 selections.  Enjoy.

PS – As always, this list is made up of stuff that I legit listened to a lot throughout the year.

25) Carly Rae Jepsen – E-MO-TION

There are a couple of tracks on Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION that aren’t great, but overall it’s definitely one of the most fun albums that I came across in 2015.  If you’re into lady-led pop jams from the 80s/90s, you need to become one with CRJ’s latest LP.

:Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Get Lost:

24) Joanna Newsom – Divers

If Joanna Newsom’s Divers had come out earlier in the year, I think it might have ended up higher on my list.  Like her other efforts, this album is beautiful but dense, and it needs to be digested over lots of listens.  In another month or two I’ll be able to decide whether it’s really good or really great.

:Joanna Newsom – Leaving The City:

23) Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect isn’t exactly what I would call an easily accessible rock album.  On the bright side, if you fully commit to it you get back a rather rewarding experience.

:Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake:

22) Desaparecidos – Payola

Payola is exactly what I wanted Desaparecidos to deliver on their sophomore effort – it’s loud, inspired, angry and crazy infectious.  Here’s hoping they don’t stick to the 13-years-between-albums thing that they currently have going on.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

21) Gal Pals – Velvet Rut

While it still bums me out that Gal Pals jumped from Austin to LA, I do like that the move got them to finally put out a debut full length.  Velvet Rut is 29 minutes of garage pop perfection.

:Gal Pals – Ex-Marionette:

20) Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

This is the fourth year in a row that Thee Oh Sees have managed to crack my Top 25 Albums list.  I don’t mind.  They make me want to be a louder person.

:Thee Oh Sees – Web:

19)  Sweet Spirit – Cokomo

I’ve jammed Sweet Spirit’s Cokomo a lot since it was released back in October.  It’s an upbeat listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

:Sweet Spirit – Baby When I Close My Eyes:

18) Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

Joanna Gruesome‘s Peanut Butter is a completely schizo (but really fun) album.  They continue to be one of the best noise pop acts around.

:Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst:

17) Sweet Talk – Double Perfect

Sweet Talk are one of the best bands in Austin, and Double Perfect is one of the year’s best straight up rock albums.  You need it.

:Sweet Talk – Witness:

16) White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

These fellas out of Kentucky really delivered the goods on their debut LP, White Reaper Does It Again.  It’s nothing but super catchy garage punk tunes.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

15) Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

A 29-track, 93-minute rock opera from the one and only Titus Andronicus?  Yeah, there was never a chance that The Most Lamentable Tragedy wouldn’t be on this list.

:Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:

14) Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up

Colleen Green’s musings throughout I Want To Grow Up are both insightful and relatable.  Also, there isn’t a single track on it that isn’t catchy.

:Colleen Green – TV:

13) Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges pretty much owned 2015.  Coming Home is a warm, inviting effort, and it may just be the year’s most accessible album.

:Leon Bridges – River:

12) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

Admittedly, it took me a little while to fully come around on Foil Deer.  I think I was expecting a simple extension of Major Arcana, but their sophomore LP is way more than that – it’s them really evolving, expanding their sound and becoming an overall better band.

:Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:

11) Ratatat – Magnifique

I think Magnifique is Ratatat’s best album.  From start to finish it’s loaded with really interesting sounds, and all of the songs move incredibly well.  I left it on repeat a lot in 2015.

:Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2015: Part 5

December 3, 2015

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This is it!  The end of my Top 50 Songs of 2015.  Dive into the final 10 tracks and then let me know your thoughts.  Enjoy.

PS – You can check out the entire song list on one page here, or the majority of it (47/50 tracks) on Spotify right here.

PS – Look for my Top 25 albums and my Austin Essentials mix next week.

- 50-41
- 40-31
- 30-21
- 20-21

10)  :Chairlift – Ch-Ching:  I never would have guessed that Chairlift had something this edgy in them.  I hope there’s more of the same to come.  From the land of one-off tracks (though I assume it’ll pop up on an album next year).

09)  :Tame Impala – Let It Happen:  This is such a sprawling, wonderful number from Tame Impala.  If I were to rank out all of their songs, I’d put this somewhere near the top.  From Currents.

08)  :Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:  While I’ve been a fan of Ratatat for a long time, this is the first song of theirs that I’ve truly been crazy about.  It’s so very groovy.  From Magnifique.

07)  :Annabel – Having It All:  Earlier in the year my care-level in regards to the resurgence of emo was roughly a 6/10. This Annabel track is what shoved it to 10/10.  It’s just about perfect.  From Having It All.

06)  :Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:  When I ran into front-lady Sadie Dupuis at Fun Fun Fun Fest I had the urge to nervously ramble about how much I love this track and how I think it’s Speedy Ortiz’s most complete sounding effort, but instead I just played it cool and helped her find the bathroom.  Nailed it!  From Foil Deer.

05)  :Sheer Mag – Button Up:  This fuzzy, Thin Lizzy-esque song from Sheer Mag is just about as infectious as it gets.  I blame Christina Halladay’s rad voice.  And the rad guitar riffs.  And all the other rad bits, too.  From the II 7″.

04)  :Built To Spill – Living Zoo:  I don’t remember the last time that Built To Spill sounded so inspired.  The build-up at the beginning of this is something I’ll never tire of.  From Untethered Moon.

03)  :Ought – Beautiful Blue Sky:  Yes, there’s a strong Talking Heads vibe at play here.  Yes, this song is rather pretentious.  Regardless, not much else has captivated me quite like it has over the course of numerous listens.  Good work, Ought.  From Sun Coming Down.

02)  :Kendrick Lamar – Alright:  If I were to sort this list based on “times played” then it’s likely that this hope-themed track would have landed at #1.  It’s one of Kendrick Lamar’s best. From To Pimp A Butterfly.

01)  :Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best:  I like that most artists these days feel lifted out of the 90s, but it’s probably time for everyone to shift gears.  This Courtney Barnett song is as good as that throwback sound is going to get.  Even the video is 90s perfect.  Also, I think “Put me on a pedestal, and I’ll only disappoint you” might be one of my favorite lines ever.  From Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

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Stream This

March 27, 2015

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie And Lowell
Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsungi
Reptar – Lurid Glow
Lower Dens – Escape From Evil
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
The Soft Moon – Deeper
Ryley Walker – Primrose Green
Portico – Living Fields
Lost Boy? – Canned
Runaway Brother – Mother
Bouquet – In A Dream EP
Simon Joyner – Grass, Branch And Bone

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Built To Spill

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Quickdraw: Built To Spill, Crying, Griz, No Joy, Inheaven

March 26, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Built To Spill – Never Be The Same:  This track is no Living Zoo (hear that stellar single here), but it’s easy on the ears and worthy of your time.  Untethered Moon is due April 18 via Warner Bros.  See the band at Stubb’s on May 19.

:Crying – Patriot:  Crying grabbed my attention with this song and the way that it sounds like Rush slathered with playful riffs and indie pop sensibilities.  It’s weird but infectious.  Get this track now over at their Bandcamp page.

:Griz – For The Love (Featuring Talib Kweli):  I adore this track!  Griz’s arrangement is as fantastic and enjoyable as anything I’ve come across in 2015.  In fact, it’s so great I often get lost in it and totally whiff on paying any sort of attention to Talib Kweli.  Say It Loud will be released on March 31 via All Good Records.

:No Joy – Everything New:  No Joy have readied their third full length, and this entrancing number is the first single off of it.  I recommend slapping on a solid pair of headphones before you hit play.   More Faithful is due out June 9 via Mexican Summer.

:Inheaven – Regeneration:  “I don’t want to pull you down/I just want to fuck around”  This swirling slice of indie rock is impressive, and Inheaven are now a band I firmly have my eye on.  Regeneration will be released on May 5 via B3SCI/AMF Records.

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Built To Spill

February 26, 2015

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I had planned on posting a Quickdraw today, but the new Built To Spill single is so fantastic (especially once it jumps into high gear) that I couldn’t justify not letting it have all your attention.  Who knew they still had it in them?  I can’t say that I did.  They haven’t put out anything since 2009′s There Is No Enemy and in the time since then the lineup has undergone some shuffling (two out, two in).  To me, that sounds like a band who’s maybe nearing the end.  To them, I guess it was a chance to recharge.  I can dig it.  Enjoy.

:Built To Spill – Living Zoo:

Untethered Moon is due out April 21 (or April 18 if you participate in RSD) via Warner Bros.

Bonus Video:

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